The Minister for Justice and Equality Helen McEntee has announced a further automatic extension of immigration and international protection permissions expiring between 20th September 2020 and 20th January 2021.
Who does this extension apply to
The automatic extension of immigration permissions announced applies to non-EEA nationals who currently hold a valid immigration permission which is expiring between 20th September 2020 and 21st January 2021, or permissions which have been extended under the previous notices issued in March, May, July and August 2020.
It also applies to persons who are awaiting first registration following arrival to the State or individuals who are currently in Ireland on short-stay visas who had been granted permission to remain for less than three months however have been unable to leave Ireland due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All automatic extensions granted will expire on the 21st of January 2021.
Sinnott Solicitors analysis
We understand that this is expected to be the final automatic extension of immigration permissions being granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At present there are thousands of applicants awaiting renewals of their immigration permission or first registration of immigration permission. The Garda National Immigration Bureau have announced that renewal applications for Dublin residents may take approximately 25 to 30 working days. The situation is no better around the country in regional Registration Offices where some applicants have been given appointments to renew or register for the first time as late as January 2021. We expect that the automatic extension is in line with the backlog of applicants seeking registration appointments/renewals.
The announcement has been welcomed with a sigh of relief from many non-EEA nationals whose immigration permissions have expired or are due to expire and the extension for a four-month period is a most sensible approach by the Minister for Justice and Equality, albeit announced very late in the day.
Notwithstanding this, we are aware of a number of clients who have been experiencing issues with respect to medical cards, social welfare payments, SUSI student grants, employment and even renewal of drivers licences where they have been unable to submit an updated IRP card.
We would expect that the Department of Justice and Equality will liaise with other government bodies and departments who are seeking updated IRP cards from applicants who are unable to submit due to registration delays in order to ensure that no person entitled to an IRP card, is prejudiced due to the fact that they do not have one at present.
We are also aware of a number of individuals who need to travel for family emergencies and other issues and are unable to do so in the absence of a valid IRP card and we would hope that such applications for renewals of their immigration permission can be expedited under such circumstances.
The Immigration Department of Sinnott Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with all Irish immigration matters.